A whistle too far

The EU’s most prominent whistleblower – Dutch MEP Paul van Buitenen – was in the news again this week after he gave the EU’s anti-fraud office (Olaf) the names of two MEPs he believes have been involved in expenses fraud.

Van Buitenen says one of the two is a former MEP, while the other is still serving. To be honest I’m not sure this is a revelation to anyone and no way as dramatic as van Buitenen’s previous whistle blowing efforts (check out his Wikipedia entry which gives a full description). My gut reaction is “only two!!”. Remember those MEPs of the past who have run for EP office simply to benefit from immunity and avoid prosecution back home for various financial misdemeanours. Now doubt we’ll see more of these shady types in next year’s election lists.

But how does such a transparency-obsessed MEP use of digital to communicate his message? A cursory look at his website suggests that he follows his clear mantra of complete openness. Check out his blog which gives a step-by-step update of what he is up to. Moreover, my guess is that he is one of few MEPs to publish complete details of his income online.

But then again could we expect anything less from an MEP who has the following quote by Albert Einstein plastered across his site:

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”


April 21, 2008 | 9:41 AM

You're wrong in assuming that Paul van Buitenen is the only MEP publishing details about his income. I recently came across <a href="http://www.dianawallismep.org.uk/pages/Transparency.html" rel="nofollow">a similarly detailed transparency page</a> on the website of Diana Wallis (MEP, ALDE). And there may be more...

April 18, 2008 | 7:58 PM

The letter Mr van Buitenen wrote suggests the diversion of EU money to domestic political parties. This will be explosive if it ever gets out. But it's a big if.